Missouri became the first state to prohibit the marketing of analogue meat products – Tofurky, veggie burgers and the like -- as “meat.”
The new law was part of a package of changes to state agriculture and conservation laws approved by wide margins in the House and Senate back in May and in effect today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Immediately, the makers of vegetable protein substitutes vowed to bring the law to court.
The law says if a product isn’t derived from an actual cow, chicken, turkey or some other animal with two or four feet, it can’t be marketed as meat.
The law gives the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture the ability to investigate and refer potential violations to the Attorney General’s office or a county prosecutor. A violation carries a penalty of up to one year in jail as well as a fine of as much as $1,000, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Ironically, one of the leaders in the plant-based meat category traces its technology back to Missouri. Beyond Meat may be headquartered in tofu-friendly Los Angeles, but the intellectual property behind its product originated at the University of Missouri. As a result, Beyond Meat is obligated to maintain a presence in the state, and it recently announced an expansion of its Colombia, Mo., manufacturing site from 30,000 sq. ft. to 100,000 sq. ft.
There have been reports USDA or FDA may consider similar action. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said at a July event his agency is considering some controls over nondairy beverages calling themselves “milks.”